tv Morning Joe MSNBC September 27, 2012 3:00am-6:00am PDT
today's economy. too many of those who are working are living paycheck to paycheck. more americans are living in poverty than when president obama took office. and 15 million more are on food stamps. my plan will create 12 million new jobs over the next four years. we shouldn't measure compassion by how many people are on welfare. we should measure compassion by how many people are able to get off welfare and get a good paying job. i'm mitt romney, and i approved this message. >> i think that ad just makes my point, they're tone deaf. good morning, it's thursday, september 27th, as you take a look at a wet times square in new york city. i'm in chicago this morning, but with us in new york city with willie geist, our national affairs editor for "new york" magazine and msnbc political analyst, john heilemann. also former treasury official and "morning joe" economic
analyst steve ratner and nbc news chief affairs correspondent and host of "andrea mitchell reports." >> we have affairs. >> andrea mitchell. and in washington, for "the politico playbook," executive executor jim vandehei. of course, willie, we've got a lot to talk about. let's start really quickly with the refs! >> they're back. >> we've got some breaking news. i've got to tell you, little kay, she's very excited because she's 9 years old. she plays in the soccer league. and the parents have had to ref over the past couple weeks because those guys have gone off to the nfl, but it's taken care of now. >> that's great news. >> drilled down deep. >> a few hours ago, the nfl and referees union announced they have reached a tentative agreement that will end the lockout and bring the original -- the regular officiating crews back to the field. and it starts tonight. quick turnaround. the ravens host the browns in a thursday night game. the deal good through the 2019
season features an increase in average salary for officials. they'll go up to $205,000 a year by 2019. all kinds of things inside this deal. bottom line, joe, the nfl realized it couldn't do this for another week after that debacle on monday night. the packers had a precious win taken away from them in the nfl. that could be the difference between making the playoffs and winning the super bowl. they couldn't have this for another week. i think roger goodell was humbled a little when he saw the outcry over this. it was leading national newscasts. it was on the front page of newspapers. the fans were furious about it. and they reached an 11th hour deal, and the refs are back on the field tonight. >> and the nfl got pounded by all sides. i didn't hear a signingle talk radio guy yesterday, sports radio guy supporting the nfl. i didn't hear anybody on espn. i mean, this was a black eye for the nfl. so they had to bend, and they did. that's great news. hey, you know who else is on the field, john heilemann back from -- willie, seriously, i think he broke the world record
for the most emmy awards in an altered state. this was like doc ellis pitching a no-hitter on acid. congratulations, john heilemann. welcome back. >> i just want to say, doc ellis has got nothing on me because he was only on lsd. >> you mixed it up. hey, willie, let's go to the race for the president. obviously, a lot going on. the polls not looking good. mitt romney saying he's not paying attention to the polls. you're having a lot of his supporters saying, well, you don't pay any attention to the polls. i heard walter mondale say that the night before the election. a lot of desperation going on on the far right, but what's happening in the race? >> laser focus on the swing states. the candidates in virginia today, one of 30 states where early voting is already under way. it's a state president obama won in 2008 by more than six points. and where a polling average from real clear politics shows him right now at this moment up about 4.5 points.
yesterday both candidates holding rallies in ohio, crisscrossing the state, sometimes almost running into each other they were so close campaigning. mitt romney tried to brush back suggestions his campaign is faltering there after that "new york times"/cbs/quinnipiac poll showing him ten points down in ohio. >> i'm very pleased with some polls, less so with other polls. but frankly at this early stage, polls go up and down. i don't expect to get 100% of the vote. i know i'm not going to get 100%. i hope to get 50 plus percent and make sure that i become the next president. >> talking about all those polls yesterday, mitt romney cited gallup and rasmussen, a couple of national polls that says the numbers are even. >> wait, willie, i don't understand. why would he cite the gallup poll, which i would usually cite the gallup poll if i were a republican candidate because the gallup poll usually is a little more conservative. what's the current gallup poll looking like? >> well, there's the daily gallup tracking poll showing president obama up six points in the points.
maybe he wanted to focus on rasmussen. >> maybe rasmussen. john heilemann, you hear a lot of people -- not people inside the romney campaign because they know they're in trouble, and they're focused on it, and i think that's a good sign. but you talk to -- you hear a lot of people on talk radio, and you watch certain cable news channels, and they're screeching about how the polls are rigged. romney's people know they're in big trouble, right? down about ten in ohio. even the fox news poll shows romney losing in a lot of these swing states. they understand they're in trouble. do they believe they've got a chance to turn it around? >> they do and they do. they know they're in trouble and they -- you know, they have tried a little bit to play the polls or bias game in the last couple days. but pretty half-heartedly as far as i can see. you know, they argue that they're within the margin of error in ohio. a lot of people don't really understand how margin of error works. so you can be pretty far behind and still be within the margin of error because it applies to
both candidates. when something says a 4.5% margin of error, they'd have to be nine points apart. they realize they are significantly down in ohio, they're significantly down in the swing states. they know that -- they think that governor romney, the ad yesterday, they were very happy with. they think it was very -- a very effective ad. they think that they're sharpening his economic message. they know that they need to do that. they think it's still possible to win, but they realize as we all do that it's going to take a couple really big moments in that first debate where romney's going to have to change the dynamic in a substantial way. it happened in 2004 for john kerry. it could happen again, but time is running out and they know that. >> jim vandehei, there are a lot of things you can look at in this romney campaign especially since the convention and point to them and say my god, how could they have been that dumb? how could they have made this mistake or that mistake? but looking for generally, taking a bird's-eye view, i think the thing that surprised me so much is how bad the economy is doing, how the president got everything he
wanted for the first two years, how he's got no excuses for a bad economy now, running for re-election. if you're in a political campaign. and yet the romney campaign seems to change messages every day. a lot like the mccain campaign. more focused on tactics than the overall -- let's just say rovian-type strategy. karl rove had a strategy in 2000 and 2004 before he started, and he stuck with it the entire campaign. i don't see that focus here with romney's top advisers. >> there hasn't been that focus. and i think what's really blindsided the campaign, they're obviously worried about the polls that you just discussed. what's really, really worries them is that the right track number coming out of the convention, the number of people who feel like the country's headed in a better direction, that that number really shot up after the democratic conventions and that they're picking that up in swing states, in a lot of these senate races. and that suggests a mood shift in the electorate that they don't fully understand.
they think it has something to do with the convention. maybe a little bit to do with the economy in some of these swing states that the economy's still not good, but there are at least signs of the housing front that it might be getting a little bit better. and now they don't really have a message. they never had a positive message, a very specific message of listen, here's five specific things i will do differently if i'm elected president. if i do those things, it will have an appreciable effect on your life. they never did that. that's what they're grappling with now. it seems like almost seech day groping for it because there's still not clarity of message if you listen to these events or if you watch the coverage or read his speeches. they're still working on that. >> andrea, the early voting, too, is something i don't think enough people talk about. last election, 2008, 25% of all ballots were cast early. early voting has started in many state, and that's why time is of the essence for mitt romney here. >> the narrative has been that he has this moment next week at the debate. but early voting has already
started in so many places and is a rolling number. and that's why the debate, as important as it is, is not possibly determinativdeterminat. and it was very clear in ohio and with that ad, that straight-to-camera advertising that they realize how devastating that 47% videotape was because what he's now trying to communicate is this compassion. he's really changed his message in the last 48 hours, let's say. you know, that was really very critical. >> one thing about early voting, though, there's a lot of early voting going on, but there's a very small number of undecided voters in the country. the people who are voting early are people who are committed, the people who decided a long time ago. the undecideds, if they've waited this long, they're going to wait a little longer. i understand. >> my point is if either & indicate makes a big mistake next week in the debate, those decided voters could change. there are still people who given the possibility of what we saw
in 1984 with ronald reagan and in 1980 with ronald reagan and jimmy carter where there really was a mood change. >> sure, but let's also remember that as john made reference to john kerry in 2004, he moved the needle, but he didn't move the needle nearly far enough. and the fact is that in 18 of the last 19 presidential elections whosever been leading at this point has led the popular vote. >> you remember how close kerry came, if he had won a small number in ohio, he would have been president. >> i understand that. >> and also if he had gnat gone windsurfing in nantucket. willie, the thing is, we talk about the 47% video, i'm hearing more and more people in the romney campaign as every day goes by, they understand more and more that they made a huge mistake with that libyan press conference. i'm not going to say that it was sort of that september 15th moment, the economy is sound,
but john mccain last time, but i can't tell you how many pollsters are telling me that that was -- it made him look unpresidential. "the wall street journal" leading with their editorial today, "the libya debacle." the more we're finding out about benghazi, the more it looks like a gross security failure. and you know, something the romney campaign told me, this is the biggest mistake we made on libya. if you give the media a chance to talk about politics or policy, they'll talk about politics every time. and we get out in front of it, so all everybody talked about those first few days was the politics of it. but the policy looks, willie, more and more like a gross security failure. you've got so many warnings coming in and so many warnings that were ignored. now the administration, the lead of "the new york times" saying that it may have been an al qaeda hit. but "the times" said there's no evidence on that. mitt romney, again, that's another -- it's a political
blunder. and they've made too many of them. >> andrea, we had secretary of state hillary clinton herself yesterday saying we now believe there is an al qaeda link to the attack on the consulate in libya. >> in moments we were told by state department officials she didn't mean to say that, that that wasn't what she was saying. she was on a conference on terrorism and she was not linking it to benghazi. it's still not established and proved. in fairness, "the new york times" writer is the only person there among all of the reporters. the transcript does show that she made that connection. but they were all saying at the u.n. that -- >> she's not the first to suggest that. >> matthew olsson testified to it. >> the fact is, whatever confusion there is over whether there was or wasn't terrorism, how the administration handled it has been defused by romney having gone ahead with that press conference, not having reinforcements and said all those stupid things, he's lost the high ground on that issue. >> this is a perfect example. this conversation right here makes my point and makes the point of the romney staffers who are concerned that there is
still confusion, there is still chaos in the white house over exactly what happened in benghazi, exactly why a u.s. ambassador was killed, and yet he stepped in front of that story when i suspect the more we look at the situation, willie, the worse it's going to look for the president. >> they looked at it in the short term as a political moment of opportunity and didn't think about the long-term impact of it. another interesting thing yesterday, joe, is the raising of the massachusetts health care by mitt romney, by his campaign, bringing this back up, he's had sustained attacks, of course, over what he's called obamacare. the president's health care law. in an interview with nbc news, romney highlighted his own massachusetts health care reform as proof that he does, in fact, care about 100% of americans. >> throughout this campaign as well, we've talked about my record in massachusetts. don't forget, i got everybody in my state insured. 100% of the kids in my state
have health insurance. i don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record. >> john heilemann, shining a light now on his record on health care in massachusetts. remarkable. >> and offering a tacit endorsement of obamacare in the process. look, governor romney is -- one of the great stories i think over the last two years that he's been running, at bottom, at heart, he is proud of the law. and he tried to find a way in the primaries to be for his own law, not give that up and say, i'm proud of what we did in massachusetts, but he knew that he couldn't be -- he had to figure out a way to also be against obamacare. he found himself in this ridiculous position of saying i love my own law, but it's not good law for the rest of the country, even though i said that in an op-ed two years ago, i now just claim that in order to get through the republican primaries. it's always been an impossible straddle, one that maybe he had to do in order to get through this republican primary electorate. but now he finds himself in this ridiculous position of having to -- while he should be proud
of, a law he is proud of, that he hasn't been able to embrace it again because of the complicated primary dynamics. this is probably where he should have been all along, but he's now been so contradictory on it over time, it's hard to see it ever giving him the kind of political advantage it might have under other circumstances. >> you know it shows two political weaknesses on romney's part. the first is what conservatives have been complaining about, especially over the past month, mainly off camera, is that he just doesn't get conservatism. he doesn't -- he can't talk like a reagan or a thatcher. he doesn't understand -- like, for instance, a good example on health care reform, john ingler, when he was governor of michigan and other governors were experimenting with health care reform. and we conservatives said great, do what you want to do in michigan, in florida, in california. we'll have 50 legislative laboratories, and that's what we believed, the best ideas survive. and then if the federal government wants to implement
some of those ideas, that's fine. not by national mandates, but we'll figure it out. it's called federalism. and mitt romney never was able to explain that in a way that paul ryan or, you know, a lot of other conservatives could have explained it in two or three seconds. yes, i did that in massachusetts, but let me tell you something. what works in massachusetts doesn't work in michigan, doesn't work in mississippi, doesn't work in minnesota. we've got 50 different states, and let's have experimentation. let's have competition. let's have legislative laboratories and see what suits each state's residents the best. he missed that. he could have explained that away in january in iowa and could have been talking about this bill for the past eight, nine months in an excited, positive way. another thing, steve ratner, i want to go to you on this specifically because you talked -- yesterday we talked to governor ed rendell who said that he was so impressed with mitt romney when he went up to
massachusetts. and mitt romney was explaining to him all the details of this health care plan and all the great things that it did for the residents, for the people of massachusetts. and he sat there going man, this guy is so impressive. ed said i see no connection between that mitt romney and this mitt romney. you've talked about the remarkable things he's done on wall street. what he did with bain capital, what a great american success story that is. and yet for you as well, there's a huge disconnect between that mitt romney and the mitt romney that we're seeing bumbling around on the campaign trail. it seems that while presidential elections elevate some like reagan and clinton, they diminish others like mitt romney. >> yeah, i think people like me who are fundamentally kind of technocrats and businesspeople look at what he did in massachusetts and say he got a lot of stuff done, worked with the rest of the government, et cetera, et cetera, got health care done, this is how government should function, but i think it's relatively obvious
that what happened out on the campaign trail is that he was pushed into places, into corners, into positions that he may or may not actually believe in, but which portray him and create an image of him in a very, very different light. and so now we are left with this kind of bum eling candidate who isn't even really sure what his economic policy is. he started out saying he wanted to repeal the bush tax cuts. then he had his own 20% tax rate cut with no way to pay for it. it's not really clear where he stands vis-a-vis ryan and ryan's budget. he promised us his own budget, but it has yet to appear. and so there is no real coherence to the message now that he's finding himself out of the primary season. >> still about 40 days till election day. time to turn around. steve, we'll look at your charts a little later. coming up next, we'll bring in chuck todd, joe klein of "time" magazine and paul simon, how about that. kerry washington also going to join us. and up next, jim vandehei with a look at the "politico playbook" and steve ratner with
reasons that may explain the surge in the polls. first bill karins with a look at the forecast. >> unfortunately some rainy areas, new york city one of them. we saw that with our times square shot. another area, thunderstorms pushing into portions of jersey. if you're leaving the house in philadelphia, the rain has begun. i-95 from philly to wilmington, probably one of the worst highway drives. eventually these will work from southern jersey from long branch towards atlantic city. i mentioned new york city, just some light rain. probably only going to last about another hour or two. a little slow morning drive there. the airports shouldn't be too bad around new york. that rain should clear out as we go throughout the day. those showers and thunderstorms down around d.c. to philadelphia, they could pop up at any time late this afternoon especially if we get sunshine during the daylight hours. new england, you look dry. some of the best news of the night, heavy rainfall falling in the drought areas from north texas to kansas to oklahoma. we've seen some significant
rains. oklahoma city, two inches of rain. that's a good start. so we have beautiful, cool weather, the northern half of the country. still warm and kind of humid, the southern half. and everywhere in the middle there is where we've been dealing with a little bit of rain. the forecast for today, i don't think we'll see too many areas seeing any extreme weather out there. just some spots with some scattered showers like new york city. we leave you with a shot of top of the rock, new york city, not too bad with that light rain coming down. you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. [ male announcer ] when this hotel added aflac to provide a better benefits package... oahhh! [ male announcer ] it made a big splash with the employees.
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welcome back to "morning joe." let's take a look at the "morning papers." we're going to start with "the washington post." the lack of communication between the romney campaign and conservative super pacs. maybe giving a significant advantage to president obama leading up to election day. by having one central media strategy, "the washington post"
reports that the obama campaign is able to spend cash more efficiently on advertising in battleground states. in comparison, the article says republican ads are more scattershot and sometimes conflict with the message pushed by the romney campaign. and from our parade of papers, "the seattle times," the pew research center finds 22.4 million households were holding college debt in 2010, that's 19% of american families. double the rate it was in 1989. higher tuition rates and a rise in college enrollment are two contributing factors for that increase. "the boston globe," the head of the cherokee nation is calling on senator scott brown to apologize for what he calls the racist and offensive actions of the senator's staff, some members of the senator's staff. it was in response to this video where several brown staffers could be seen doing indian war chants and tomahawk chops at a campaign rally. senator brown has challenged elizabeth warren's claim that she is of native american heritage. brown's campaign released a
statement last night offering regrets. not a full apology, saying his staffers got their one and only warning on that. jim vandehei still with us. you're talking about this morning that race in missouri, todd akin still has a chance, reports politico. >> yeah. i mean, the polls are not great for todd akin ever since he made those comments that got him in a heck of a lot of trouble in missouri and certainly with republicans he's now down in a state that republicans have to win if they want to win back control of the senate. and what's interesting is it's a little -- it's a case study in the divide inside the republican party. you have rick santorum, newt gingrich, other conservatives rallying around akin and calling on washington leaders to put money into that race. they still think it's winnable. in an interview with us, akin said, listen, my eyes have been opened. i now see how many people don't understand conservatism. he's talking about mitch mcconnell who runs the republican conference. and he was talking about myitt
romney and karl rove and all the other people who distanced himself from him over his comments. does the republican senator ideal committee start to put money back into the race? they promised not to. we heard they're rethinking that decision, because they have to win it or they're not going to win a clear majority in the senate. >> boy, john heilemann, that puts him in a difficult position. by the way, akin saying that there's some people in washington that don't understand conservatism. i don't think that's the case. i think, again, and i quote nicole wallace who says, you know, people are debating about whether we'll be the conservative party, the moderate party, i'm just tired of us being the stupid party. you talk about the stupid party, the stupid party selects akin when they know he's the least likely to win a general election and get harry reid out of the majority leader position. you look at the loss in nevada with sharron angle, in delaware last year, and we could have yet another person. we republicans could be in the
majority except for a couple of really stupid decisions on the primary level that we all saw coming. everybody knew if mike cassell won in delaware two years ago, republicans would have picked up that seat. here's another example of akin. i don't see this as a battle for the heart and soul of the republican party. i see this as a battle between stupid and tactically smart. >> yes. todd akin is a fool and a political, you know, should be a political pariah. and the effort of much of the republican establishment tried to get him out of that race doesn't reflect the lack of understanding of conservative values but reflects, as you said, joe, the desire to try to win and distance themselves from this guy who is, as i say, plainly not fit to be in the united states senate, given some of his views. but it is possible, as jim vandehei said, it's possible he could win this race. and it's clear that a lot of
republicans and the republican establishment now looking at the math are thinking about coming back in. i think the republican senatorial committee is very likely to put money into this race. i think the polls will tighten. as horrific as it will be to many people not just on the left but in the middle of the electorate, i think there's a reasonable chance he could win this race. >> not only do i agree with that, take a look, joe, at what roy blunt did. he is moving up in leadership, and he came out and supported akin yesterday. so that is -- >> the senator from michigan. >> yeah, that's the leading indicator. that tells you that the republican committee is going to go full in, and they see this as their way to regain control, and it's all about regaining control. and i can tell you that some of the very people now supporting him are republicans who tell me that working with him in the house has been horrible, that they just think he's a nightmare, but they think that he could be the solution to winning the senate. >> interesting, too, that he's running a campaign not just against claire mccaskill but against establishment republicans and national media, people like you, john heilemann.
>> he's all in with the tea party, baby. he's with those that brung him. next, the nfl and referees reach a late-night deal to end the lockout. unfortunately for jim vandehei, it comes about three days too late. what this means to the nfl's brand. that's next. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade. everyone tells a little white lie now and then. but now she wants my recipe [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. to meet the needs of my growing business. but how am i going to fund it? and i have to find a way to manage my cash flow better.
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welcome back to "morning joe." it's 6:33. joining us now on the phone to discuss that deal we told you about at the top of the show, bringing the refs back to the nfl tonight, quick turnaround for the browns/ravens game. and this weekend. we've got on the phone sports editor for "the nation" and founder of edgeofsports.com, dave ziron. welcome. winners and losers, who got the better end? >> the referees, absolutely and positively. remember the whole issue of this deal was about their pension and whether they would even have a pension. roger goodell said they shouldn't have a pension because the nfl commissioner said, well, i don't have a pension, so why should they have a pension, leaving out that he makes $20 million a year. and the other thing that they got, they got to keep their
pension for another five years. and they also were able to have more referees hired in not out of the existing pool that makes up their salary, and they're going to have 25% raises for the duration of the contract over the next seven years. so they did very well for themselves. >> amazing that the -- steve ratner, we were just talking about the future of the league or this season hinged on a 401(k) plan. >> well, it's so interesting because you compare this to the battles out in the midwest and elsewhere over pensions and how they're being handled. and here you're in a situation where maybe i'm oversimplifying, the public seems to care more about football than they do about teachers and firemen and policemen because of pressure to give them what they wanted and get them back to work was intense. >> the outcry was too big. we were talking about at the top of the show, it wasn't just espn, deadspin or online sports websites, it was national news. >> it was the president of the united states. >> yeah, him, too. >> it was bill clinton on your
show. "morning joe." and that got the most publicity, by of way, of your entire interview with president clinton, which was very interesting. it was also all manner of politicians from across the board. from not just the president but small-town mayors to people like scott walker and paul ryan. i mean, that's really like turned it into a big story. it's like, wow, scott walker, the same person who doesn't think we need trained union teachers and firefighters really believes that we need trained union officials on the field for the nfl. it turned it into the kind of story that could not be contained by the sports page. >> paul ryan wants these guys to have exactly the same pension that he does not want anybody else to have. >> yeah. and that turns it into all kinds of fodder that really does transcend the sports world. >> i was going to sit back in chicago and say nothing because i like dave, but seriously, you guys politicizing this, it's pathetic. by the way, these refs, you know
what the difference between the nfl and a lot of these states are? the nfl has a lot of money. >> yes. >> a lot of these states are out of money because they promised -- i cannot believe i had to say this. okay, you marxists go ahead and destroy the rest of this wonderful story. go ahead, willie. >> i hate to say, i always hate to say i agree with joe about anything, but there really is a huge difference in the sense that you have a league that's -- there's no public money in the league. it's a bunch of billionaire owners sitting around withholding decent pensions from the referees, not like where there's public money involved and where there's powerful teacher unions. >> look at ratner smirking. he knows that he's demagoguing this. >> the fact is it was paul ryan who said get them back and fire, you know, president obama. i mean, he made that political connection, not anyone else. >> i'm just trying to point out the irony of the situation. there's a little bit of irony here. i recognize all the differences. >> just a little bit. >> just a little bit of irony.
>> steve just had sympathy with the billionaire owners. >> nobody sympathizes with the billionaire owners, but they're flush with cash. there are a lot of us that only want to be tougher on public unions, not because we don't want them to be paid more, but because we don't want our children to be straddled with, you know, bankruptcy. but anyway, let's talk football. enough of this. >> it would be just so -- i'd be guilty of journalistic malpractice if i didn't point out that public subsidies play a huge role in why the nfl is so flush in the first place. it's not private money that's made it the most successful league. it's massive public subsidies from every single nfl city. >> and i'm against that, too. >> they didn't build it. >> we don't need any more taxpayer domes. i think we can all agree. dave zirin of "the nation."
>> thank you, dave. >> through all that, there is a football game tonight. up next, the "must-read opinion pages." you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. i don't want healthy skin for a day. i want healthy skin for life. [ female announcer ] don't just moisturize, improve the health of your skin with aveeno daily moisturizing lotion. the natural oatmeal formula goes beyond 24-hour moisture.
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♪ welcome back to "morning joe." as you look at the sun rising over the united states capitol. time for our must-read op-ed. this morning, "the wall street journal." "it's always the economy, stupid. what mr. obama won't say is the financial crisis resulted from the implosion of a housing market transformed into a toxic landfill by congress, regulators, fannie, freddie and mortgage packagers. the bush policy was a bystander. also left unsaid by mr. obama
but free for the telling by mr. romney is that as the u.s. unemployment rate hit 9.5% in june 2009 and a shocked public was looking for a response, the new president introduced the affordable care act for the next few months. when mr. obama signed the law into march in 2010, the unemployment rate was 9.8%. if an opponent wanted to describe this in partisan terms, he might say that the president signed an entitlement dream while the economy burned. >> i think there's a certain spin on it. i think the president's argument would be when you become president, you usually get a couple years to get your big things done. health care was something he identified early on as a big thing that needed to get done, and he was going to use his political capital to get that done. and obviously in retrospect, i think we would all agree the economic recovery has been slower, but he felt the stimulus program and other things he was doing would be enough to start this economy on the right trend,
and it did, just not as quickly as we would have all liked. >> joe? >> well, listen, i think daniel henninger makes the point so many conservatives would like to make. that's not only the frustration of the paper but also a lot of other conservatives that can't believe mitt romney isn't making what should be a slam-dunk case. a lot of people will disagree with what he said, with what i believe, but i think it was political malpractice for barack obama to focus for -- henninger said nine months, it was more like a year, year and a half battle. to focus on that for a year, year and a half while the economy was burning. while you had unemployment of over 9%. and since then, look, we've had trillion-dollar deficits. every single year, he's added $5 trillion to the national debt. you've had all the bailouts. you've had so many things that mitt romney could run on, and he
hasn't been able to do it. willie, that is the ongoing frustration that this man has been given more material than any republican nominee since ronald reagan in 1980, and he can't seem to connect the dots and explain why a conservative economic world view should be used to turn this economy around. it is a daily frustration for conservatives. >> and daniel hopes mr. romney will take up this point at the debate six days from now. steve, let's inside these numbers. you've got some charts explaining president obama's recent surge in the polls. >> yes, because while i agree with a lot of what joe said, there are some substantive reasons why president obama should be doing better at the moment. they don't get as much attention. so let's talk a little about it. first, nobody is happy with the state of the economy at the moment. 2% growth with 8% unemployment. but as we've talked about on this show, it's the trend as much as absolute levels that determine how people feel. this is an historical chart of economic optimism going back to '09.
and you can see the ups and downs of people's opinion where they started up with 42% being economically optimistic that things are going to get better. it went steadily down into the summer of '11 partly because of the weak economy, partly because of the debt ceiling crisis. since then it has been climbing back up with a few hiccups all the way back up to 42% right at the peak where it was during the obama presidency. so the question is why are people feeling a little better about the economy? of course, you see this in some of the other polls as well. let's look at three indicators that really hit home when it comes to individuals and what they have. the first is disposable personal income. we've talked about the pressures on income on this show, and there are real pressures on incomes. but there's also a little bit of good news, which is real disposable per capita income. that's a mouthful, but that's basically what consumers have in their pocket every month, has actually been on a pretty steady rise since last fall. and so if you look at trends,
there's more money going into people's pockets, and they are spending it. consumer spending is up faster than it has been in several years. a second thing that's very important to people are their home prices. the loss of home equity was devastating. you're now seeing for the first time -- we've had some false starts as you see down here as the housing market hit bottom. but you're now seeing for the first time a rise in housing values that most economists believe is sustainable. they believe we are now off the bottom. and you had a 5.9% increase in house prices this year. the strongest in two years. new home sales are up. new constructions are up. there's a lot of evidence that house prices are doing a little bit better. >> hey, steve, so there's some good news here, obviously. i am curious, though, you talked about -- you talked about disposable income. obviously, real wages are down. they've been down over the past four years. also, the unemployment situation, very bad. and yet, you look at some of
these -- the indicators. and you look especially in ohio, in florida, in some of the swing states, and americans are more optimistic. is this a situation where the expectations have been so lowered that they're looking for any reason to be hopeful, to believe that the economy is turning around and better days are ahead? >> i certainly agree that expectations are lower. if you had said a few years ago people would be satisfied with 8% unemployment or vote for a president with 8% unemployment, we might have all laughed. but as identi've said a few tims economists study the variables and election results, more and more it's the trend you look at. it's the direction that things are going. while in some cases like job the direction is still slow, some of these other indicators i showed you, and we haven't talked about the stock market which is also on a tear and many people have 401(k)s, the direction of a lot of these indicators is making people feel a little better and getting them to spend a bit more money. car sales are up and so forth. >> up what, 116% since the
bottom of the stock market in march of '90? >> that's exactly right. >> jim, you look inside the numbers in swing states, ohio, florida, virginia, places like that, you see evidence of what steve's talking about here, which is that the right track/wrong track is going up at just the right time for president obama. >> right. in places like ohio, the economy's been better than it has been, at least across the country, on average. rich lawry has a smart column, a conservative columnist, piece in "politico" this morning where he talks about the effect that bill clinton's speech seems to have had on this race. that basically he did a better job than anyone else at saying any of the problems that are still out there, you can't dump them all on president obama. and lawry argues that that was an effective argument. it seems like since then the numbers have changed appreciably. and i think they're more linked to the convention than they are to the data ratner's talking about. there's no doubt everything he's pointed to is real, but i think politics and perception is often shaped by these big events and
sort of how you feel emotionally, and that's what's getting picked up. >> all right. jim vandehei, packer fan, you can't get that win back, but we got the refs back. >> i'm still hoping we get that win back. coming up next, a little news you really can't use. a culinary monstrosity. we're just glad mika's not here today. pizza hut with an ice cream-shaped crust filled with cream cheese. we'll tell you where you can get yours when we come back.
oh, yes. is it time? >> yes, it is time, prerecorded mika. "news you can't use." time to marvel at the spread of western fast food across the globe. not doing so well with democracy, but fast food, we've got it. sure, we've got here at home the dairy queen bacon sundae, the taco bell taco. remember this one, 7-eleven in singapore, a mashed potato dispenser. for $1, you can have runny mashed potatoes and gravy pour out simultaneously. >> yum. >> ooh, let's go get some. >> now pizza hut middle east, not here yet, pizza hut middle east is changing the stuffed crust game. >> then fill us with even more fun with pizza hut's new cone crust pizza. filled with luscious cream cheese and honey mustard coated chicken, loaded into golden cones packed with fun, delight
and deliciousness. from the cone crust -- >> i still believe that's an "snl" skit. pizza hut has unveiled the cone crust pizza, supreme pizza with small ice cream cone-shaped crust filled with cream cheese and honey-basted chicken. it's not the first time the chain is getting innovative with its crust. this is the golden brown cheeseburger pizza at pizza hut, pizza-sized slap of dough with mini cheeseburgers baked into the crust. >> no! >> yes. the burgers create a crown, you see, encircling a bed of toppings and special sauce. >> are they required to post the calorie count? >> mayor bloomberg hasn't made it there yet. >> a honey-basted sauce? >> one would think so. >> do you get a trip to the er? >> and for dessert. get to the dessert. >> and for dessert, wait, there's more. breadsticks called kitkat pops
nestled inside a breadstick. >> you're ruining a good kit kat. >> those delicacies, as i said, only available for now in the middle east. but we believe justice will prevail. >> getting a passport if you don't have one already. next, "time's" joe klein joins the set, plus chuck todd. more "morning joe" in a moment.
approved this message. >> he keeps saying it. >> this president cannot tell us that you're better off today than when he took office. >> well, here's where we were in 2008. >> worst financial collapse since the great depression. >> american workers were laid off in numbers not seen in over three decades. >> "jersey shore" has become a major ratings magnet and promises to return for a second season. >> here's where we are today. >> the dow soared 244 points. >> the sixth season of "jersey shore" will be the last one. an executive producer announced this season will be their final days at the shore. >> we're not going back, we are moving forward. >> barack obama, he killed bin laden and "jersey shore." >> well, you know, it's kind of hard as you look at the white house on this beautiful thursday morning to argue with that logic. welcome back to "morning joe." great to have you here today. john heilemann's also with us along with andrea mitchell. still with us in new york. along with the great willie geist and joining the table,
political columnist for "time" magazine and music connoisseur, joe klein. joe, i've got to tell you, i am kicking myself because i am in chicago, and one of the two or three people that would be on my bucket list to meet, of course, paul mccartney, number one. but i've got to say, number two's got to be for me, paul simon. paul simon going to be with us next hour. and i'm going to miss it. i mean, you've got to put him up there among the top two, three, four songwriters in rock history, right? >> not just songwriter, but he's one of the most adventurous musicians. >> no doubt about it. >> graceland was such a breakthrough that it inspired musicians all the way down to, you know, vampire weekend now. >> yeah, no doubt about it. of course, he just -- he keeps experimenting, keeps moving forward. it's very exciting. well, listen. we've also got some politics to talk about, joe klein. >> do we have to? >> i know!
i would much prefer to talk about paul simon, but we'll do that next hour. with you let's talk first about the debate that's coming up next wednesday in denver. we're less than a week out from it. mitt romney has to laser focus, one conservative after another going out there, telling him, stop being distracted. have a laser focus on the economy. i want to read you what daniel henninger wrote today in "the wall street journal." he said stupid in the famous quotation from 1992's clinton versus bush campaign, it's the economy, stupid. whoever thinks a u.s. presidential election is about something else. all presidential elections are about the economy. yes, there are other issues, but it's also true that a whale has pilot fish. still, most politicians would rather talk about anything but the economy, and the man we're looking at right there, mitt romney, seems to be exhibit 1 in daniel henninger's argument.
how does mitt romney turn it around and laser focus on the economy and make the sale next week in time? >> well, it's going to be hard because people are feeling a little bit better about their lives. you know, they've paid off their credit card debts. their 401(k)s are back where they were. you know, as steve ratner just showed, their housing prices -- values are going up. you know what i would do is -- you know, john mccain very, very successfully made government seem foolish by picking out stupid earmarks. you know, the strongest argument i've seen mitt romney make is that, you know, the government -- the government's regulatory apparatus has bogged down. you know, i would have him go at stupid regulation tricks. you know, there are all these silly regs that have been passed, you know, in these bills that you used to vote for or vote against, joe.
and i think that he has to run against the federal government at this point rather than against the economy. >> willie? >> john? sorry. i thought joe was going to say something. >> no, no, no. i agree with that. i mean, he does have to focus on how massive the federal government's gotten, but he also has to explain how that is going to turn things around for the american people. and you know, john, it's really not that hard of an argument to make when you say there's $3 trillion sitting on the sidelines. investors are afraid to put that back in the u.s. economy. corporations are more flush with cash than ever before, but they don't know what new regulation or what new tax washington's going to pass. now, you could disagree with that if you wanted to, but that's an argument that americans could believe if mitt romney could only give it. >> look, i think that what
romney must do is has to talk about the future. you know, rich lawry who jim vandehei talked about, written a piece in politico called "the end of the referendum period." so his argument is people have -- whether they blame the bad economy on bush or whether they had lower expectations or whatever, they're not making their decision now based on litigating the past. they're at the point -- there was a republican poll the other day that showed 70% of people are saying that what will make up their mind is the question of are you better off than you were four years ago? 75% of people want to know, what are you going to do for me in the future? how are things going to get better? the problem for romney is that so many of his policy recommendations either have been completely lost in the cloud of ridiculousness that's enveloped his campaign and the lack of discipline or the policies that are he proposed are policies that can be portrayed as being just like george w. bush's policies. he must talk about the future. he has to persuade people he has a plan going forward.
his problem is that most of his plans wreak of the past, and the obama campaign will attack him for that. but if he doesn't pivot to the future, he's just going to lose this election because people have now decided right now that more or less they think barack obama's better on the economy, and that's the biggest change in the polls recently is obama taking the lead for the first time in who voters trust going forward. >> and he doesn't have a message that is consistent. because in ohio, he confused his tax message. so if he is going to offer tax cuts and then say but you will have the same amount of money because i'm going to eliminate deductions, but president obama actually didn't increase your taxes, which was a misstatement of his past -- in the last 48 hours, he has completely muddled his tax message, and you can't do that as a republican and win against an incumbent president who's popular. >> the romney people thought that this was going to be a referendum on barack obama and that they wouldn't have to put forward new ideas. here we have a situation where the president hasn't told us anything about what he's going
to do in the second term. and he's getting away with it. you know, i had this thought the other day with the debates coming up. i can't remember a single thing that bill clinton said or did in the 1996 debates against bob dole. and i think that that is exactly what barack obama's goal is over the next few weeks. >> and you know, joe, the thing that's so fascinating is that we've ended up, because both candidates have not put forward very specific agendas, we're ending up having an election that's a referendum on bill clinton's time and george w. bush's time. and most people think back to the clinton era as being a better period of time as the bush era. so barack obama's winning that debate by proxy because he's associated himself with the policies of bill clinton and with the person of bill clinton. >> i think we've got to start thinking for real about the probability of a clinton monument on the mall. i mean, you know, who would have thunk it? >> didn't he just say that he could run in ireland, and he could also run in france. >> he could run in france because he was born in
louisiana. >> that's a true statement. >> ireland's a better fit for him, though, i think. >> although they love him in france. he's a lover. >> we'll move past that. joe, you're just joining us. i want to play a clip for you that we played last hour. mitt romney talking to nbc news yesterday. and now bringing up the massachusetts health care law he championed and helped pass as support for his campaign. >> throughout this campaign as well, we've talked about my record in massachusetts. don't forget, i got everybody in my state insured. 100% of the kids in our state have health insurance. i don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record. >> joe klein, now coming back and using the health care law that he's avoided for months on end. >> i'm sure that daniel henninger and the folks at "the wall street journal" really love that. >> empathy and care are the two words. >> i was in favor of the romney health care law when it came out
of the heritage foundation in the late 1980s. you know, i was in favor of it when it was the republican alternative to hillary care. to employer mandate that hillary had. it's a good plan. it's a very good plan. it could be better. but also when romney did that, and i talked to him about it and interviewed him, it was very much in his mind that that was going to be his ticket to the national stage. and he's had to run against who he is and what he's done throughout this campaign. >> and joe scarborough, we had ed rendell on yesterday. he said they used to go up there and talk to romney about this plan. and he was fluent in it, obviously. he was proud of it. he was wonkish about it, thought it was a good plan then but hasn't had the same voice until yesterday about it in this presidential campaign. >> you've got to run as who you are. you have got to run as who you are. >> absolutely. >> you can't run away from who you are. and the american people will accept you for what you are if you're being real. mitt romney was proud of this
massachusetts legislation. and you know what? he should have not only run on it in the general election. he should have run on it in the primaries instead of running away from it. again, joe klein, i said it last hour, i'll say it again. and i disagree with you on daniel henninger and "the wall street journal." they may not have loved the specifics, but they would say it's federalism. back in the 1990s, john ingler and tommy thompson and a lot of other republicans, they experimented with health care reform in their own states. and, in fact, we bragged about how all 50 states would be legislative laboratories. you would get the best from every state. and mitt romney could have made that argument if he understood conservatism, if he understood federalism. but he just doesn't seem to get it at his core. he can't speak in the same language than, say, paul ryan can speak in. >> but know, i think that he
tried to make that argument, but it's a false argument. you know, one of the things that republicans say all the time is that we need a national market in health insurance so that people in new york can buy, you know, from any state. and i think that if this had been done correctly, if we had a national health care superstore, a national exchange, then obamacare, you know, would work. it's really hard to run 50 different health care systems in a country where you have medicare, medicaid and huge corporations like time warner offering health care to their employees. >> i disagree with you, joe, that it's a false argument. but, again, that debate can be had. you can have -- >> we're having it now. >> yeah. well, i know. that's what i'm saying. but mitt romney needed to stay on that message because i believe that is the way forward. that doesn't mean that you don't have cooperation between the states.
that doesn't mean that you can't shop for health insurance in other states as well. but again, have that debate. engage in that debate. mitt romney just hasn't seemed to be able to stay with it. in fact, joe, he hasn't seemed to be able to stay with any message consistently. and i think that's what's killing him right now and why he's not breaking through to swing voters. >> well, you know, a couple of weeks ago i wrote that it's hard to debate effectively when you're biting your tongue and swallowing your pride. and that's what's been going on. with romney. it really -- you know, this is a guy who has had to edit himself at every turn. and because of that, you know, he keeps on coming up with the most incredible bloopers, bloopers and gaffes that would have appalled his father. >> joe knows this as well as probably everybody at this table does. the crazy thing about the individual mandate is that it is a conservative idea.
it was an idea created at the heritage foundation as an alternative, as joe said, to hillary care back in the early 1990s. well, it would have been a really gutsy move on romney's part if he wanted to -- about the beginning of the primaries was to stand up and say, listen, there's a problem that exists in every state and use this nationally which is there's a market failures. there are free riders. to fix that problem to get everyone in the insurance pool, this is the conservative answer, individual mandates. and alying that was a conservative doctrine. if he'd have stood up and made that argument and say listen to all the conservatives who have now decided this idea is freedom, you guys have amnesia because our whole party 15 years ago was saying that this was the right solution from the right-wing side of the aisle. but romney did not say that. he tried to thread the needle, and now he's in this ridiculous position of trying to balance --
trying to pirouette on a tightrope. >> newt gingrich was an early champion as were a lot of conservative free-market republicans. let's go to political director and host of "the daily rundown," chuck todd. we're talking about mitt romney's mixed message, what he needs to do. yesterday mitt romney talking about the national polls and looked at one of those national polls talking about gallup saying, you know, i'm pretty close on that. the gallup daily tracking poll comes out, and actually, he's five, six behind. at this point now, he's got the rasmussen poll to cling hold to and all the others including the fox news polls are showing things are slipping badly. and they've continued to slip since the convention. and the $64,000 question is, how does he turn things around, and can he do it next wednesday in denver at the first debate? what do the romney people think they need to do? >> reporter: boy, that was a lot in that leadup.
i have to say this. it's an amazing conspiracy theory. if all of the polls except one guy, scott rasmussen, is right and everybody else has been polling for a lot longer and actually doing it with a sound methodology seems to be getting at it another way. let's toss out that conspiracy theory side. look, they are -- the romney folks have believed for three weeks that october 3rd is the whole campaign. that's why they spent -- they have spent a lot of time doing debate prep, probably more than they would like to because they've spent less time on the campaign trail. he has spent, you know, more time than maybe he should have if you look back on how much he's not been in battleground states. but there's one thing i want to say about the health care. don't you get the sense, joe, that he's kind of like jack nicholson in "a few good men," and he just wants to scream -- and of course you do it in the romney way -- you're gosh darn
right i believed in the mandate! and i'd do it again and i'd sign that law! he wants to support that law. he wants to tout that law because when he's sort of in a box like that question that ron gave him about empathy, he goes right to it. >> by the way, he's proud of it, chuck. >> yes. >> and i'll tell you something else he should be very proud of. the fact -- the picture could have been used against him in the republican primary, but now that he's in the general election, the fact that when he signed that bill, ted kennedy was right next to him. what is barack obama's biggest weakness? in my opinion, other than the economic policies, i think he has been a miserable failure. this is my belief. a lot of people would disagree with me strongly, but i personally believe his biggest failure, the biggest disconnect from his words of 2004 and words of 2008 and his actions of 2009 and 2010, he's been a bipartisan failure. mitt romney could say he doesn't
know how to get the deal done. look at me and look what i did as a republican in massachusetts. but he's run from that, chuck. >> well, yes. look, this is this -- what the primaries did to him, what the conservative base did to him, rick santorum said it. remember, they were in the primaries. he said the worst guy to put up there is going to be the guy -- because he'll never be able to make an argument on health care, well, he's right, because romney -- you get the sense in his gut, he doesn't fully -- he doesn't fully disagree with the president, at least on how he might build a universal health care system. >> you know, i think that the truth of this is, when you look at why the republicans were against their own idea, the individual mandate, it's a very simple political reason. it's because barack obama was for it. and what you've had over the last four years, and i guess i'm disagreeing with joe a bit here, is the republican party was far more obsessed with preventing
obama from succeeding than it was from -- than it was interested in having the country succeed. there are a lot of things in obamacare that could have been inserted if the republicans had played, malpractice and insurance being at the top of the list. >> they were scared by the tea party. they were scared by that whole debate in august of '09. and they never got back to what john heilemann pointed out could be a conservative responsibility argument for the individual mandate. >> and to joe's point, the bipartisanship argument is a powerful argument except for the fact that you can't run on that in a republican primary. and no republicans wanted to hear from mitt romney, i can work with the other party, having achieved all their success on opposing the other par party. and the problem is that the primaries and the general election are not like two separate aeons or two separate centuries. they happen in quick succession. we always talk about pivoting the general election. it's much harder now.
people have long enough memories. they remember what you said in december, january, february, march. you can't be running as a different person in june, july, august, september. >> andrea mitchell was talking about how the romney people were scared by people in their own party. i think that's a big problem. that's a big problem. personally with mitt romney, not that he has crazy elements in his party and barack obama doesn't have crazy elements in his party, it's fear. i always told people -- this is my number one rule because i'd always have politicians coming up to me saying how do i do this or that? people will be upset with me, and i'd have people say, how do you attack newt gingrich and your own republican party and still have 80%, 85% approval rating among republicans? here's the rule. nobody ever stops you when you're going 90 miles an hour. i always told them that. if you know what you believe in, step on the gas.
go 90 miles an hour politically, blow through every stop sign, and nobody's foolish enough to believe you. if mitt romney had said damn right, i was for the individual mandate in massachusetts because it was the right thing to do for massachusetts. and guess what? i agree with the heritage foundation. i agree with the conservative -- if he had taken that argument and pushed it aggressively, even though i would disagree with it, if he had pushed it aggressively like he did in that 2009 op-ed in "usa today" and stayed with it, guess what? he'd be in pretty good shape right now. but there seems to be this ongoing fear because he's not going 90 miles an hour. he goes 10 miles an hour and stops. and then he takes a left. then he takes a right. and it is a big political problem for him. and i think it's one of the reasons why his message is so skewed right now. >> or damn right, i've been successful in my life. here are the tax returns to prove it. get over it. you could make that case, too. joe klein, we didn't even get to your piece in "time," but people
ought to read it. it's "old borders, new realities: a look at the middle east." joe klein, thanks so much. chuck todd, stick around with us. we'll talk to rick stengel about that new issue of "time." next, the latest on the nfl's late-night deal to end the lockout. the refs are back, and "sports illustrated," the most connected man in the nfl, peter king going to be with us. and a little later, paul simon, the legend, here on set. also from "scandal," our good friend kerry washington joins us. you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. [ giggling ]
baltimore. what did it come down to in the end? >> i think a couple of things. first of all, the nfl could not send replacement officials to green bay sunday. i think everybody in the league knew that. i mean, this had to get done this week. and i think at the end of the day, the officials get to retain a pension system through 2016 that 89% of corporate america doesn't have anymore. okay? and they're part-time employees. this pension was important to the officials. they get to retain it for the next five seasons. and the nfl gets to hire a taxi squad of officials that over the next few years they can replace underperforming officials. >> peter, peel back the curtain a little bit because you talked to all the principals involved here. for the first couple of weeks, did roger goodell say to himself, we're going to weather this, we're the nfl, we don't have to worry about this? >> yes. >> and did it come down to monday night? >> i think a lot of this was monday night. remember the way he thinks. he's thinking two, three, four years down the road, his main
goal in this was to make sure that they could hire some officials to replace underperforming officials down the road so that if an official either goes, you know, has a bad year or whatever, formerly he wouldn't be benched. now they're going to be able to do that. and the officials get a lot more money. >> but did he underestimate what the response would be, the impact of this? >> the response would not have been an outrage had not that game happened monday night. the reason that it took 48 games for it to happen, but in the 48th game of the season, the wrong team won. and roger goodell looked at that, and he's just like any other person in the league, we can't have that. >> chuck todd, you cover the white house. the president of the united states came out on this the other day, as did mitt romney. >> reporter: yes, they did. and don't forget, it's green bay, wisconsin, a battleground state. peter king, major league baseball did overreturn a result, george brett, the
infamous pine tar incident, they overturned a result, that was a home run in the top of the ninth, so they forced the ending -- they ended up having to play the extra half inning. >> right. >> was there any thought that the nfl -- was there any contemplation by -- you know, i know what their statement said -- of overturning that result because it was the last play. they could have done it in a way, and it probably would have been fairly accepted around the league. >> well, chuck, i mean, i've asked that question to a couple of people in the league, and they basically say, look, there's nothing in the bylaws that says that we can do that. so there's no rule set up to be able to do that. now, the logical person might say, well, you should just do it. you should just make a rule like that. but i can tell you that there was no momentum in the league among the owners. and you didn't even hear players calling for this to be overturned. so i don't think it was ever a serious consideration, as common sense as it may be. >> the fact is, they were making
decisions that were the wrong decisions all along. i mean, this one was determinative, but there were plenty of bad calls in others of those 48 games. they can make a rule. if they can make a bad decision. >> you know, they could. >> why not throw out the playbook they already have? >> they could, andrea, but i think that this nfl is very often capable of redoing things in midstream. they show that when they reinterpret rules. but this would have been such in their mind a gigantic thing to go and overturn the ruling of the officials on the field. then i think they would have figured, where would it stop? >> real quick before i let you go, long-term impact on the nfl brand of this? because let's be honest. people might have been angry. they were still watching the games, still buying the jerseys, still going to watch the games. does this really hurt the league at all? >> i think it really hurts the league and green bay, wisconsin.
in green bay, which is where the bedrock fan is and where green bay has fans all over the country, you know, i got tweets, i got some direct messages over the last few days, i'm done with this season. i'm finished. that's probably emotions speaking. but i think the nfl owes green bay a big one. and i don't know how they're going to make it up to them. >> especially if they miss the wild card spot. >> by one game. it will be an outrage. it will be an outrage. >> peter king, great stuff this morning. >> thank you. >> we appreciate it. >> chuck todd, thank you swp. see you ahead at 9:00 on "the daily rundown." coming up, first look at the issue of "time" with managing editor rick stengel. keep it here on "morning joe." the capital one cash rewards card
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viewers, the cover story, willie, as you know, is written by jon meacham. jon meacham, of course, his first "time" cover was "there is no god." his second-time cover was "america is in rapid decline." the third "there is no santa claus." we've got a big question mark. what do you think what time-honored truth do you think jon meacham is going to savage today? >> i think he's coming back to one of his old favorites, "heaven is for suckers." >> seriously! meacham, why did he do this to us? >> you and i have still explained to our sweet little daughters why mr. meacham tells them there is no such thing as heaven. it's a terrible thing. >> you actually are teasing the younger viewers now. because, in fact -- in fact, jon, reverend meacham who is far more devout than either of you guys combined. >> it's the right, reverend, jon meacham, thank you. >> thank you. i stand corrected. thank you, joe.
so it's a story by jon about mixed morman identity, about mormanism in america. and basically, he makes the case that mormanism is, in fact, the quintessential american religion. mormanism is all about america being the promised land. and jon finds it a little curious that governor romney doesn't talk about that more because in a sense, mormanism is about american exceptionalism. and the fact that governor romney doesn't incorporate that in his whole argument is a curious thing. and the other thing that he says about mormanism is that it's a religion of trial and tribulation and escaping prejudice and being under the gun. and, in fact, that also is animating mitt's campaign because he's kind of trying to sail steady in the face of all of this turbulence. >> it's a perfect -- it's not actually curious at all. there's a very clear reason why he doesn't talk about it. and it reflects the innate caution of their campaign.
they've been worried all along about base voters, evangelical voters and not turning out for him. they've been concerned about that from day one. you could criticize that caution. i would criticize that caution, but that's the reason why he doesn't talk about it more. >> but the flip side is also interesting which is nobody else is really talking about it very much. and when you look at the polls, i believe even the evangelicals are more for romney than people might have expected, given the circumstances. >> at least they say they are. >> i don't know, if i were romney, why i wouldn't talk about something controversial if nobody else is talking about it. >> that's a very good point. and the point that they make, which i actually think is correct, is that people appreciate devoutness no matter what the devoutness is in favor of. and they see mitt as somebody who is genuinely devout, and yet he doesn't really talk about it. i do think because mormanism is so particularly the kind of the american religion, it actually gives you a diving board to jump off and talk about this in a way that celebrates american exceptionalism.
i'm surprised that he doesn't do that. >> it is really -- it is, rick, so curious that he doesn't do that, and his campaign staff, his top advisers haven't figured this out from the very beginning. when i ran four times, i always looked at mormans at my ally. evangelicals looked at mormans as their ally. you would look at conservative christians, orthodox jews, and mormans, i don't get it. you could even go back and dig into the numbers. i remember seeing this last super tuesday in 2008, you looked at evangelical voters in the republican primary on super tuesday. you had a baptist preacher by the name of mike huckabee that got one-third of the evangelical vote. john mccain, the eventual nominee, got one-third of the evangelical vote. mitt romney got the other one-third of the evangelical vote. and yet they seem to be running away from it. and i just don't get it. i think it's a positive. >> i agree. and in fact, one of the things we've seen in the last few cycles is that people turn their liabilities into assets, and
other people's liabilities -- other people's assets into liabilities. and the fact that they're not using this seems peculiar. >> rick, there's a photograph that accompanies the piece i'm not sure i've seen. we've seen old photographs of him and ann. this is during his time as a missionary. >> yes, this is when he was in france. it's circa 1968. it was when he was still courting the then-ann davies, and he and a pal made a number of pictures throughout france of him, you know, saying "i love ann." and it's a lovely sentimental picture. it's been rarely, rarely published before. actually, we found it in the "time" life photo ar i'chivearc. >> circa 1968, i guess. what else about the issue this week? we just had joe klein talking a little about his piece in the middle east. what else pops out at you? >> we have the toughest job in america about the president of american airlines. we have a great piece by bobby gauche who's been on here before
about the rise of the salafis in the middle east. they're the tea party of muslim democracy, and that's a fantastic insightful story as well. >> bobby asked if it will ruin the promise of the arab spring. rick stengel, thanks for being here. "the morman identity" written by jon meacham. still ahead, the much anticipated inside account of the u.s. struggle for iraq from "new york times" military correspondent michael gordon along with our own chief pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. keep it "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. that was me still taking insulin
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the uk's national pig association is warning of a, quote, unavoidable global bacon shortage. >> a global bacon shortage! we're all going to die! much later than we thought thanks to the reduced salt and nitrates in our diet. well, i, for one, am going to be ready for the coming aporkalypse. i am presently building an underground shelter and stocking it with all the salted hog meat i can find, bacon, pancetta, ham hocks, jon hamm. oh, he looks salty. >> how are you and your family preparing for the aporkalypse? still ahead on "morning joe," paul simon will join us. we'll ask about his legendary album "graceland" among many other things and importantly his work to bring health care to the
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my name is olivia pope, and i want to be clear i'm not here in any official capacity. i'm only here to warn you because you should know what could happen. it could become hard for you to find employment. your face would be everywhere. people would associate you with a sex scandal, all kinds of information about you would easily become available to the press. for example, you've had 22 sexual partners that we know of. also there's that ugly bout of gonorrhea and your family. mental illness, two years at the hospital. i bet that's private. she runs a day care now, right? >> he told me he loved me. he gave me the stock. >> see, it's those kind of lies that could hurt you if you said them to other people, people not as nice as me. i'll give you some free advice. hand in your resignation. >> ooh, that was a scene from abc's drama "scandal." joining us now, the star of that show, kerry washington who i assure you is not as evil in person as she is on that program. >> thank you for vouching for me, willie. >> tell me about olivia pope.
>> my character on the show, olivia pope, is a fixer. she's a crisis manager. and she's based in washington, but she deals with all kinds of crises. because the thing about d.c., as you guys now, it's the center of power in a lot of different industries. you never know who's going to walk through our door whether it's a congressman, a senator, a supreme court justice or a powerful ceo, a leader of of a . last year we had a couple of those characters. >> you have the -- i don't know what we want to call it. character trait of having had an affair with the president of the united states. >> that is a detail on the show. >> important correction. >> pretend detail on the show. and he's white and it's a republican president. all of the important distinctions from reality. >> maybe we should take that from the top and do over. >> maybe you should ask the questions. >> your character oilivia pope
has an affair with the republican president. >> yes. what i love about the show, no one is what they believe them to be. everybody has secrets and something to hide, which is sort of the nature of the scandal. this season in our second season we're beginning to not only learn more about those secrets but figure out how those secrets impact each other because the politics of the office is changing a lot, our relationship to the white house is changing based on what we know and based on stuff that's happened in the past. >> this show is totally in your wheel house. you were immersed in politics. you're an activist. you campaigned for president obama. you watch the show as we hear from you when we see you out. what is it about politics you like so much? >> to be honest with you, i
think it's our responsibility. when i participate in politics, it's never as a celebrity. it's always as an american. i feel like so many people put their lives on the line. susan b. anthony died without ever being able to vote. so many women spent lives to make sure i have a political voice and same thing in the civil rights movement. so many people fought so i could express my views and vote and have a say. i never want to take that for granted. not as a celebrity but as an american. >> we just showed the brief clip of you speaking at the convention. >> i was really nervous. i get paid to be other people for a living. to speak as other people. as the convention i was speaking as myself in a room that big and the stakes are so high in this election. i felt like it was a tremendous honor and a big responsibility. i kind of prefer being other people. >> that's an incredible room.
energy in there. you get off one line and you feel the energy come back to you and it kind of builds. >> really exciting. >> i think we have a clip of you speaking. let's listen. >> today there are people out there trying to take away rights that our mothers, our grandmothers and our great grandmothers fought for. rights that we fought for. our right to vote. our right to choose. our right to affordable, quality education. equal pay. access to health care. and we, the people, cannot let that happen. >> how about that, mike barnicle. sign her up. >> when you watched yourself, you said yikes. what did you mean? >> i don't like watching myself. it's very awkward. when you're in the moment, you get caught up in the moment and
so it's always awkward to watch myself do anything. who wants to watch themselves do anything. i don't. >> i can tell you from the ground in charlotte people were impressed. they started making carrie washington signs. >> i think what's important is that you have americans speaking out and volunteering and engaging on both sides of the aisle. that's how a democracy works. people participate. i participate based on my views and what's important to me. i think everybody should participate. everybody. that's why i think any time we disengage voters or make it more difficult for people to participate, to vote, to show up and have their political voice, that's dangerous. we only work as a nation when we allow eligible voters to vote.
>> president obama is lucky to have you working for him this time around. the show is "scandal." her character, olivia hope, has an affair with the president of the united states on the show. second season getting ready. always good to see you. >> thursday nights on another network. >> great to see you. >> thanks. >> "morning joe" is coming right back. woman 1: this isn't just another election. we're voting for... the future of our medicare and social security.
man 1: i want facts. straight talk. tell me your plan... and what it means for me. woman 2: i'm tired of the negative ads and political spin. that won't help me decide. man 2: i earned my medicare and social security. and i deserve some answers. anncr: where do the candidates stand on issues that... affect seniors today and in the future? find out with the aarp voters' guide at earnedasay.org ♪ playing a lone hand ♪ my life begins today ♪ ♪ fly by night away from here ♪ ♪ change my life again ♪ ♪ fly by night, goodbye my dear ♪ ♪ my ship isn't coming ♪ and i just can't pretend oww!
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>> everyone is saying these replacement refs are an absolute disaster. i've been looking at footage of the replacement refs in action in the last three weeks. i have to agree. they have not done a great job. judge for yourself. >> okay. clap if you think it was holding. all right. not bad. now clap if you don't think it was holding. all right. somebody please tell me what holding is. >> pass interference on the defense number 22.
why don't they just let the man catch the ball? am i right? >> okay. i do not yet have a ruling on the field but i do have this. all right. what do you think? >> good morning. it's 8:00 a.m. on the east coast. 5:00 a.m. on the west coast as you take a live look at new york city. back with us on set in new york, we've got steve ratner, andrea mitchell. we have a lot to talk about. let's start quickly with the refs. we have some breaking news and i got to tell you, little kate is excited. 9 years old. she plays in the soccer league. and the parents have had to ref over the past couple weeks because those guys have gone to play nfl. it's taken care of now.
>> that's great news. >> it happened late last night. the nfl and referees union announced they have reached a tentative agreement that will end the lockout and bring the original, the regular officiating crews starting tonight. the deal good through the 2019 season features increase in average salary for officials. they'll go up to 205,000 a year by 2019. all kinds of things inside this deal. bottom line, joe, the nfl realized it couldn't do this for another week after that debacle on monday night. the packers had a precious win taken away from them which could be the difference of making the playoffs and winning the super bowl. roger goodell was humbled when he saw the outcry over this. it was leading national newscasts and on the front page of newspapers. fans were furious about it. they reached an 11th hour deal and refs are back on the deal tonight. >> nfl got pounded by all sides.
i didn't hear a single talk radio guy, sports radio guy, supporting the nfl. i didn't hear anybody on espn. i mean, this was a black eye for the nfl. they had to bend and they did. that's great news. you know who else is on the field? john heilman is back. i think he broke the world record for the most emmy awards in an altered state. this was like doc ellis picking a no-hitter on acid. congratulations, john heilman. welcome back. >> doc ellis has nothing on me. he was only on lsd. >> you mixed it up. willie, let's go to the race for the president. obviously a lot going on. the polls not looking good. mitt romney saying he's not paying attention to the polls. a lot of supporters saying you don't pay attention to the
polls. i heard walter mondale say that before the election. what's happening in the race? >> laser focus on the swing states. it's a state president obama won in 2008 by more than six points and polling average from real clear politics shows him right now at this moment up about 4.5 points. yesterday both candidates holding rallies in ohio crisscrossing the state sometimes almost running into each other they were so close campaigning there. mitt romney tried to brush back suggestions that his campaign is faltering there after that "the new york times"/cbs poll showing him down ten points in ohio. >> i'm very pleased with some polls. less so with other polls. frankly at this early stage, polls go up and polls go down. i don't expect to get 100% of the vote. i know i'm not going to get 100%. i hope to get 50 plus percent and make sure i become the next president. >> talking about those polls yesterday, mitt romney's cited
gallup as a couple national polls that suggest they're even. >> why would he cite the gallup poll. i would if i was a republican candidate because the gallup poll usually is more conservative. what's the current gallup poll look like? >> there's the daily tracking poll showing president obama up six points in the race. maybe he just wanted to focus on rassmussen. >> you hear a lot of people -- not people inside the romney campaign because they know they're in trouble. they're focused on it. that's a good sign. you hear a lot of people on talk radio and watch certain news channels and they are screeching about how the polls are rigged. romney's people know they are in big trouble. even fox news polls show romney losing in a lot of swing states. they understand they're in trouble. do they believe they've got a chance to turn it around? >> they do and they do. they know they're in trouble.
they have tried a little bit to play the polls in the last couple days. they argue within the margin of error in ohio. you can be far behind in it the margin of error. they recognize they are significantly down in ohio. they're significantly down in the swing states. they know that they -- they think that governor romney ad yesterday they were happy with and they think it was very effective ad. they think they are sharpening his economic message. they know they need to do that. they think it's possible to win but they recognize as we all do that it will take a couple really big moments in that first debate where romney will have to change the dynamic in a substantial way. it happened in 2004 for john kerry. it could happen again. time is running out and they know that.
>> jim, there are a lot of things you can look at in this romney campaign and point to them and say how could they have been that dumb and made this mistake or that mistake? looking more generally, taking a bird's-eye view, i think the thing that surprised me so much is how bad the economy is doing. how the president got everything he wanted for the first two years. how he's got no excuses for a bad economy now running for re-election if you're in a political campaign. and yet the romney campaign seems to change messages every day. a lot like the mccain campaign. more focused on tactics than the overall strategy. karl rove had a strategy in 2000 before he started and 2004 before he started and he stuck with it the entire campaign. i don't see that focus here with romney's top advisers. >> there hasn't been that focus. i think that's really blind-sided the campaign, they are obviously worried about the
polls you just discussed. what really worries them is the right track number coming out of the convention. number of people that feel like the country is headed in a better direction. that number really shot up after the democratic convention and they are picking that up in swing states and in a lot of senate races. that suggests a mood shift in the electorate they don't understand. they think it has something to do with the convention. something to do with the economy in the swing states that the economy is not good but signs on the housing front it may get better. and now they don't really have a message. they never had a positive message. a specific message. here's five specific things i will do differently if i'm elected president. if i do those things, they'll have an appreciable effect on your life. they never did that. that's what they are grappling with now. it seems like each day groping for it because there's still not clarity of message if you listen to events or if you watch the coverage or read his speeches. they are still working on that.
>> andrea, early voting is something i don't think enough people talk about. last election, 2008, early voting started in many states and that's why time is of the essence for mitt romney. >> narrative has been that he has this moment next week at the debate. early voting has already started in so many places and is a rolling number. that's why the debate as important as it is, is not possibly determinative. he's got to change this quickly. it was clear in ohio and with that ad that straight to camera advertisement that they realize how devastating that 47% videotape was because what he's now trying to communicate is this compassion. he's really changed his message in the last 48 hours let's say. that was critical. >> what's one thing about early voting? there's early voting going on. a number number of undecided
voters in the country. the undecided voters if they waited this long and hardcore undecided they'll wait longer. >> my point is that if he were to make a mistake, if either candidate makes a big mistake next week in the debate, those decided voters could change. there are still people given the possibility of what we saw in 1984 with ronald reagan and 1980 with ronald reagan that it was a mood change. >> let's also remember john kerry in 2004, he moved the needle but he didn't move the needle nearly far enough and the fact is that 18 of the last 19 presidential elections they have been leading at this point won the popular vote with the exception of course thomas dewey. >> remember how close kerry came. if he won a small number in ohio -- >> i understand that. >> he would have been president. >> also if he had not gone wind surfing in nantucket. that would have helped. >> willie, the thing is that we
talk about the 47% video. i'm hearing more people in the romney campaign as every day goes by, they understand more and more that they made a huge mistake with that libyan press conference. i'm not going to say that it was sort of that september 15th moment. the economy is sound. but john mccain last time. i can't tell you how many pollsters tell me that was -- it made him look unpresidential. "the wall street journal" leading with their editorial today, the libya debacle. the more we find out about benghazi the more it looks like a gross security failure. something the romney campaign told me, this is the biggest mistake we made on libya. if you give the media a chance to talk about politics or policy, they'll talk politics everything time. all anybody talked about was
politics of it but policy looks more and more like a gross security failure. you have so many warnings coming in. so many warnings that were ignored. now the administration, the lead of the "the new york times" saying that it may have been an al qaeda hit. "times" said they are offering no evidence on that. mitt romney again that's -- it's a political blunder. and they've made too many of them. >> we had secretary of state hillary clinton saying we believe there's an al qaeda link to the attack on the consulate in libya. >> within minutes we were told by a state department official that she did not mean to say that. that wasn't when she was saying. she was at a conference on terrorism and that she was not linking it to benghazi. it's not established and proved. in fairness to them, "the new york times" writer is the only person there among all of the reporters -- the transcript does show she made that connection. >> she's not the first to suggest that. >> no.
the fact is whatever confusion there is over whether it was or wasn't terrorism and how the administration handled it has been diffused by romney having gone ahead with that press conference and said all those stupid things, he lost high ground on that issue. >> there's a perfect example. this conversation right here makes my point and makes the point of the romney staffers who were concerned that there is still confusion. there is still chaos in the white house over exactly what happened in benning aghazi and u.s. ambassador was killed and he stepped in front of that story when i suspect the more we look at this situation, the worse it's going to look for the president. >> i think they looked at it in the short-term as a political moment of opportunity. didn't think about long-term impact of it. another interesting thing, joe, is the raising of the massachusetts health care by mitt romney, by his campaign bringing this back up. he's had sustained attacks over what he's called obama care and the president's health care law.
in an interview with nbc news, romney highlighted his own massachusetts health care reform as proof that he does in fact care about 100% of americans. >> throughout this campaign as well we've talked about my record in massachusetts. don't forget. i got everybody in my state insured. 100% of the kids in our state have health insurance. there isn't anything that shows more care about the people of this country than that kind of record. >> shining a light on his record on health care in massachusetts. remarkable. >> and offering an endorsement of obama care in the process. governor romney is one of the great stories over the last two years that he's been running. at bottom, at heart, he's proud of the law. he tried to find a way in the primaries to be for his own law and not give that up and say i'm proud of what we did in massachusetts. he knew he couldn't be -- he had to figure out a way to be against obama care. he found himself in a ridiculous position of saying i love my own
law but it's not good law for the rest of the country even though i said that in an op-ed two years ago. i claimed that to get through the republican primaries. it's an impossible straddle and one that maybe he had to do in order to get through the primary electorate now in this ridiculous position of having to -- he should be proud of the law. a law he is proud of. he hasn't been able to embrace because of the complicated primary dynamics. this is where he should have been all along. it's hard to see it giving him political advantage it might have under other circumstances. >> it shows political weaknesses on mitt romney's part. the first is what conservatives have been complaining about especially over the past month mainly off camera. he just doesn't get conservatism. he can't talk like a reagan or thatcher. he doesn't understand -- a good
example on health care reform. john engler when governor, we said do what you want to do in michigan and do what you want to do in florida and california, we'll have 50 legislative laboratories and that's what we believe. the best ideas survive. and then if the federal government wants to implement some of those ideas, that's fine. not by national mandates but we'll figure it out. it's called federalism. mitt romney never was able to explain that in a way that paul ryan or a lot of other conservatives could have explained it in two or three seconds. i did that in massachusetts. let me tell you something, what works in massachusetts doesn't work in michigan, doesn't work in mississippi, doesn't work in minnesota. we've got 50 different states and let's have experimentation. let's have competition. let's have legislative lavatories and see what suits each week's residents the best. he missed that. >> when we come back, the long
awaited book that offers an inside account of the u.s. struggle for iraq from bush to obama. we'll bring in "the new york times" chief military correspondent michael gordon. also joining the conversation, nbc news chief pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. and in just a few minutes, the great singer/songwriter paul simon in studio. >> i have a picture for you. if you love summer and warmth and heat, turn away. this is the first snow picture of the season coming out of colorado. this comes to you from steamboat springs, colorado. a dusting of snow at the higher elevations. it's the beginning. if you love to see, you're only about a month away. as far as rain goes today, already had some around new york city. another batch about to head back in. should be a dry afternoon. we had beneficial rains last night in oklahoma and there's more coming. look at the heavy rain up by amarillo. hardest hit drought areas are getting rain as we go throughout the beginning of fall. your forecast for today. i don't expect a lot of airport
trouble with rain moving through d.c. and new york and philadelphia today. it's hit and miss. i don't think you'll see minor delays at worst. it's a beautiful day from chicago to detroit to minneapolis. may see a stray storm or two around denver. we're still warm in texas. i got good news for everyone. the rain to the north and west is going to head your way as we go through friday and then into saturday it may rain a little bit to start your weekend. i know you could use it. d.c. today should be warm. 83 and humid. probably one of the warmest days we'll see for a while. enjoy it while you can. you're watching "morning joe." we're brewed by starbucks. [ male announcer ] with a driving range of more than 550 miles you'll inevitably find yourself on a desolate highway in your jeep grand cherokee. and when you do, you'll be grateful
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welcome back to "morning joe." a live shot of washington, d.c. on a beautiful thursday morning. let's bring in chief medical correspondent for "the new york times," michael gordon. co-author of the new book, "the e endgame." also joining the conversation is nbc news chief correspondent jim miklaszewski. looks like a fantastic book. thank you for being with us. i guess the one defining element of the iraq war from 2003 forward is the fact that it's made fools of everybody from george w. bush's administration on wmds and so many other things
to democrats attacking general petraeus and the surge as something that was doomed to fail. what were your take aways when you finished the book? >> what i tried to do is cover the entire period from 2003 to the first half of 2012 and we did something a lot of authors don't do. we actually talked to the iraqis, the people in whose country the conflict was being waged from prime minister maliki on down. despite the troubles and the high cost in terms of lives and treasure, there really was an opportunity toward the end of the conflict to construct a better relationship with iraq than we have today, one that would have been a better partnership for the united states and it didn't happen because of reasons in iraq and it also didn't happen because of differences within the obama administration. >> in the book you write about the obama's administration handling of the withdrawal from
iraq. the administration had a fresh chance to reengage with iraq's leaders and shape its politics. obama did not act decisively on that chance choosing ahead to take hands off approach on iraq. this decision was characteristic of those obama made on iraq. he saw america's involvement there not as an opportunity but rather as a leftover minefield, a path out of which had to be charted as quickly as possible. explain that to us. >> at the end of the bush administration, the beginning of the obama administration, violence was down substantially in iraq. the question was were we going to keep a small number of troops in iraq after 2011? how would that be negotiated? there was a significant difference, i think, in perspective between the pentagon where admiral mullen, chairman
of the joint chiefs of staff, civilians, saw iraq as an opportunity. they wanted to keep a reasonably sized force around 16,000. at the white house, the national security adviser saw it more through a political lens and also the white house was much more risk adverse. this dynamic played out throughout the entire negotiations and as a consequence i don't really think the administration made a substantial effort to negotiate a continued presence there as it might have. difficult to arrange under any circumstance but they started late. had visions in ranks and iraqis sensed the americans ambivalence. >> jim miklaszewski is in washington with a question. >> congratulations on the book. going back to the withdrawal and this idea that the americans would keep some kind of residual
advisory force there in iraq. you know, throughout 2011 we were told by the pentagon and the white house were willing to do that but iraqis have to ask. but i've got it from good sources myself that on his last trip to baghdad, secretary gates talked with prime minister maliki who literally got down on his knees and pleaded to gates to leave some residual american force there is in iraq. reading what you found out, it sounds as if the white house was intent on doing that onliy on is own terms and on terms that maliki could absolutely not accept. do you believe the white house, president obama, was ever serious about leaving that residual force there in iraq? >> first of all, it is true as you point out that prime minister maliki indicated a number of times, he did it to me when i interviewed him a year ago, that he wanted some
residual forces at least he said he wanted them. and his idea was to do it as an executive agreement between maybe the iraqi ministry of defense and the pentagon and not as something they submitted to their parliament which would be far more controversial. i think that is where the agreement faltered. i don't think obama was being cynical. i think he was basically asking for an agreement on his terms. >> right. michael, you know, candidate obama took a real beating in the 2008 campaign for his early opposition to the iraq war which he called the dumb war in retrospect proved to be accurate. do you get a sense that there was any attempt by the white house or the president to seek vindication for the president's early position on the war? >> i think they made substantial
adjustments as you recall president obama campaigned on getting all of the combat brigades out within 16 months. what they did was somewhat different than that. they adjusted that significantly. i do think within the white house there was additional concern about the political optics in the united states of keeping significant number of forces. while in the pentagon they wanted to keep some troops partly because nobody controls iraqi airspace now and that's why iran has been able to ship hundreds of tons of weapons to syria through this vacant airspace, while the pentagon saw it in strategic terms and the white house was a bit suspicious of the military thinking the military always wanted to keep forces in these places and obviously they were intent on doing what they have done during the campaign, campaigning on the statement that they ended the war in iraq. so keeping a substantial force
in iraq was a bigger pill to swallow for the white house than it was for the pentagon. >> to that point, michael, they've said that's one of their foreign policy victories. we ended the war in iraq yet at the same time there's so much iranian influence and so much suspicion of the shiite connection to iranians and the fact that iran used their airspace. do you think that this is a safe space for them to keep bragging about iraq or is iraq still a work in progress, very much a work in progress? >> well, what i tried to do in the book with general trainor was assess the administration in terms of what they themselves tried to do in iraq. they tried to do much more than just take the troops out. they tried to construct basically a coalition government, a partnership government in which power would be shared because there's a lot of concern that maliki is acting in a authoritarian way. they did try to negotiate an
agreement to keep small force in iraq of 3,000 to 5,000. they did plan to have a substantial number of american police trainers. civilian presence to keep american influence in that part of the world. none of those things that they tried to do really happened to the ex-accident that the administration hoped. it's a complicated picture. >> this is another case where some of the criticism of the president's foreign policy is that he does not develop relationships with these foreign leaders and it's clear in this case that he did not. also residual suspicion of general petraeus. i was there when general petraeus was still running iraq and barack obama was a candidate when he first went to iraq. and that relationship did not get off to a good footing. >> you know, the administration gave vice president biden the lead for iraq policy. when it came to the big decisions, president obama had to get engaged. i found it striking that during
this whole negotiation over keeping troops in iraq, he talked by the secure videoconferences that they do. he talked to prime minister maliki twice. president obama, for him, iraq was a much more important priority rightly or wrongly and he was engaged on a weekly basis. i do think that had an effect on iraqi politics and there was an extraordinary request that president obama made to the president of iraq to resign his position to make way for another person. it's hard to make that kind of request when you don't have an ongoing relationship with your iraqi counterparts. >> the book is "endgame." thank you for being here. jim miklaszewski, thank you as well. when we come back, paul simon joins us on set. you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks.
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joe." we talk about music all the time. i have a very small bucket list. i'm a simple man. i don't care about presidents or prime ministers. for me it's always been mccartney. paul simon. >> the pauls. >> and bob dylan. only people i care to meet in the world. >> dylan and mccartney are waiting for the next block. we have one here. >> i wake up in 3:00 in the morning. i'm in chicago. i find out that mr. bucket list is on my set. very excited to have with us rock 'n' roll hall of famer and member of 12-time grammy award winner marking the anniversary of the organization they founded to provide health care to kids in needs. the children's health care fund. gentlemen, it's a great honor to have you both here.
not only, paul, because of the remarkable music that you've provided us for so long but also 25 years of this organization taking care of children in need. talk about what's happened over the past 25 years and what you hope to accomplish over the next 25. >> well, first of all, thanks for your kind words, joe. sorry that you're -- what are you doing in chicago? >> i'm cursed. i'm cursed. i'm just stupid. i'm always in the wrong place at the wrong time. >> he thought this weekend was l lallapalooza. >> i'm in the wrong place at the wrong time. i'm dr. john here. talk about your organization and what's happened over the past 25 years. >> it started with explosion of homeless people in -- not a
literal explosion but homeless people in new york city in the late '80s and the doctor and i met because i was trying to get some money from usa for africa, the michael jackson video that i was in to give it to a homeless shelter on the west side of manhattan. and his interest is children's health care, pediatrics and we went around the city and saw the single room occupancy hotels and saw the situation of what was going on with homelessness and how it affected children. it was honestly like the third world. it was just mortifying. and so we came up with this idea to have a mobile medical clinic that would go to the various sites and provide health care
with a doctor and a nurse on board and a computer records and we were associated with a hospital in new york and that's how we began. we started in manhattan and then we went to a few other boroughs and now we have 50 units all around the united states in urban areas and in rural areas. that in a nutshell is our story. there's been -- since we started there's been 3 million doctor/patient visits over the 25 years. >> you guys have been working this issue for a long time. we talk about presidential campaigns and how a lot of big issues don't get talked about. this is one of them. how frustrating is it for you to watch this campaign play out in 2012 and have this issue that means so much to you never mentioned? not ever really discussed in any substantial way by either party or either candidate.
>> that's an important question. we have been speaking to the campaigns and trying to get both of the campaigns to say something in terms of their plans for what they'll do not just access to health care for all children, especially poor children, but access to all of the safety net programs from hunger support and early education and so forth. and in fairness, the last few years have shown significant growth in some of the strength of these programs and expansion of programs for the poor under president obama. that said, we would like to see more articulation of this as a major issue for the u.s. the thing about children and poverty is it's very different from the situation with adults. with adults people are enduring situations that they should not have to. for children, not only are they enduring conditions that are horrendously adverse but there are consequences. if kids are not getting health care they need and not getting nutrition and so forth in the early brain development years or while they're in school, then we see an unfolding disaster that
will affect not only our present but our future. >> doctor, could i interject? you've been doing this for 25 years. it seems 25 years ago you would hear studies saying if you don't get to kids before they're five, they're going to be problems for the rest of their lives. it seems the more we learn, the more we begin to understand that that age gets bumped back to four, to three, to two. if we don't make the investment to help these children, these babies, these toddlers develop in the first two to three years of life, they're going to be deficiencies in a lot of cases for the rest of their lives. critical to get in as early as possible, right? >> no question. i have a niece that teaches a first grade class in new york and she was telling me a week about about children who fall asleep, 6 year olds fall asleep with heads on their desk. children who have been labeled as learning disabled when they
don't have visual problems. the kids falling asleep turn out they have asthma not identified or treated. these kids are destined in many cases to be failures or not reach their potential and that is a -- that's really a disaster for the country. this is where that word you used, investment, is key here. paul always talks about children as a treasure of america. they are. but also a critical investment. just as important as anything else we'll do economically. it's one of the reasons that we're hoping that this election season will see more focus on children as investments in america's future. >> if you don't make that investment early on, you're engaging in a false economy because you're going to be paying out a lot more in the out years whether it's medicaid or other government services. so when we were about to introduce you, paul, we knew it was the 25th anniversary of your organization. somebody said it's the 25th
anniversary of graceland. it tells me how -- i thought that came out like a year or two ago which is how old i am. 26 years ago and it still is having a significant impact. your album last year so beautiful or so what? critically acclaimed. there are a lot of people that have their hits and then play those hits for the rest of their lives and don't keep growing. how do you keep getting up and producing great music? day after day or using sports analogy inning after inning after inning getting up for the next inning? >> nice of you to say. well, for one thing, i'm not thinking about hits anymore. actually, i wasn't thinking about hits when i was making graceland. i certainly didn't think i know a great idea. i'll go to south africa and
record and the whole world will fall in love with it. that's what happened. i'm just trying to keep myself interested in my work. that's really what goes on. the fact that other people are interested is gratifying but i would be doing it, always was doing it for myself and i still am. >> joe brought up graceland. we talk about politics and music and there's very few records that have intertwined politics and music the way graceland did. you violated the buy coycott toe that record and you were the first artist to be invited to perform. talk about what that record means to you. it really was something that kind of -- i don't want to say
changed the world but opened people's ears to music to a different culture and talk about that and what that means in the context of your whole career what kind of impact that had on you. >> well it was the great teaching experience of my career because i began to learn about rhythm. i was always drawn to rhythm. playing with african musicians and with west african musicians, that was great. in retrospect was most gratifying is i always had this idea that cultures were not as separated as we perhaps imagined. that comes from early rock 'n' roll listening to it. when you take country music and african-american experience and you combine it, you're taking
different cultures because you are putting them together and that was rock 'n' roll. the graceland experience was very similar. there were places that connected american music and south african music and we found those bridges and we built a hybrid that worked as an example and had political implications as well that i couldn't foresee at the time. they turned out to be a good teaching device as well. quite an extraordinary thing in my life to have done graceland. >> absolutely extraordinary for all of us. i remember speaking of early rock 'n' roll and rolling stone interviewing asking you for the greatest line in rock history in the early '80s, your answer
she's my baby and don't mean maybe. >> just listening to it now, i feel like i may have had issues with the reporter or the question. >> that continues. paul simon, thank you so much. >> thank you for having us. >> it's great to have you here. doctor, thank you so much as well. >> thanks, joe. >> we thank you for what you've done during the past quarter of century. >> the concert is one week from today. >> heilemann and i will be there throwing things on stage hoping to get a closer view. coming up next, business before the bell with brian sullivan. we'll be right back on "morning joe." my kids would love this xbox 360.
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breaking news this morning. let's go to cnbc's brian sullivan. >> mixed economic data coming out about 15 minutes ago. it's not good for manufacturing. first off, the weekly unemployment claim numbers did come in better than expected. about 26,000 fewer than the consensus forecast. the problem is what's known as durable goods orders number. these are big ticket items from refrigerator to a car to a plane posted its biggest drop in years. here's a pretty amazing statistic. in july, boeing received 260 airplane orders. in august, it received one. so perhaps the global slowdown, europe, what we're talking about in china, perhaps coming to roost here. not good news for manufacturing job growth so pay attention to that as well. also new reports showing that
people are spending less and less time on facebook on this computer. down 13% month over time. more time on the phone. less time on the desk top. the reason that's not good is the desk top has a lot more real estate for those ads that facebook wants. we all know to quote mr. simon, these are the days that signals constant information and loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires and babies and they're all on facebook. >> he's good. >> the boy in the bubble and baby with the baboon heart but i believe. >> he did have the commercial break to google lyrics. let's be clear. you did. >> google all of the lyrics. propose a showdown with willie geist over musical lyrics. >> you would win that. you and show joe is one to watc. >> brian sullivan, thanks man. more "morning joe" when we come back. with the spark cash card from capital one,
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the 92nd street y if you happen to be in new york city, you can see me do an interview with bob woodward. i'll do the interviewing and he'll do the answering questions about his new book. >> nfl is back with referees. that means you'll get to see the guns. there he is. the nfl refs are back and football is back. we'll see you tomorrow. stick around for chuck. >> trifecta. the third day in a row that president obama and mitt romney will shadow each other in the same state. today it's battleground virginia. the old dominion went blue in 2008. was that an accident of injury? virginia is a check mate state when it comes to the romney path to 270. mounting pressure and questions face the obama administration over the assault in libya that killed the u.s.